Car­bon tax could be $120B wind­fall

Regina Leader-Post - - FP REGINA - GE­OF­FREY MOR­GAN

CAL­GARY A $120-bil­lion op­por­tu­nity ex­ists for com­pa­nies that can help re­duce Canada’s emis­sions, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port, as the fed­eral gov­ern­ment plans its tax on car­bon and as com­pa­nies like Tran­sAlta Corp. shift to­ward re­new­ables more quickly than ex­pected.

Bos­ton-based Lux Re­search pub­lished a re­port Thurs­day that es­ti­mated Canada’s car­bon tax plans could gen­er­ate $120 bil­lion in tax rev­enues by 2030 and that money “can be fun­nelled to­ward do­mes­tic tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tors.”

“While it re­mains to be seen how Canada’s prov­inces will spend the bil­lions in tax rev­enues, proper al­lo­ca­tion of fund­ing can even­tu­ally po­si­tion Canada as a global hot spot for in­no­va­tions,” Lux Re­search se­nior an­a­lyst Yuan-Sheng Yu said in a re­lease.

Yu’s re­port pre­dicts that Canada would be­come “a des­ti­na­tion for global tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ers” and that clean-tech providers tar­get­ing the trans­porta­tion and waste-man­age­ment sec­tors are the best po­si­tioned to profit from the tran­si­tion. Yu said there were also op­por­tu­ni­ties for power com­pa­nies to gen­er­ate earn­ings from the coun­try’s tran­si­tion to lower its emis­sions.

It is re­leased at a time when the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to di­rectly in­vest $1.8 bil­lion from its fed­eral bud­get in clean-tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies and as com­pa­nies in mul­ti­ple sec­tors have be­gun plan­ning ahead for a Canada-wide $50-per-tonne car­bon tax in 2022.

“Car­bon is now an in­put, so like any other thing, as the cost of an in­put goes up, you want to min­i­mize it,” Tran­sAlta Corp. pres­i­dent and CEO Dawn Far­rell said Thurs­day, adding that a $50 per tonne car­bon price makes con­vert­ing her com­pany’s coal-fired power plants to nat­u­ral gas more eco­nomic.

Tran­sAlta, a ma­jor Al­berta power com­pany, an­nounced Wed­nes­day it would ac­cel­er­ate its planned re­tire­ment of coal­fired gen­er­at­ing sta­tions from 2029 to 2023, moth­balling some power plants and con­vert­ing others to burn nat­u­ral gas. The Lux re­port pre­dicted that “Canada’s elec­tric­ity sec­tor will shift from (be­ing the coun­try’s) third-largest emit­ter to the sec­ond-low­est in less than 20 years.”

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